WC-3, the anti-growth initiative that the Chamber opposed last November, reared its ugly head in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee this morning.
It is now known as AB 119, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie. The initiative and the original version of the bill were written by PLAN, the “Progressive” Leadership Alliance of Nevada. (Is it considered “progress” if we move toward California and away from capitalism?) But I digress…
While PLAN would have you believe that AB 119 is only meant to implement the voters’ intent; that is not true. The voters supported amending the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan, not Nevada Revised Statutes. In fact, the process was already in place to hold public meetings to deal with this issue; meetings that were cancelled once this bill was introduced. AB 119 may actually be slowing down the process of implementing the voters’ intent.
While the amended bill is not nearly as harmful as the original text that you will find in the link above, it still has some undefined terms in the text, such as “region,” “development pattern,” and “sustainable water resources.” All of the local governments supported the change, but our position is that this bill is totally unnecessary.
Representatives from the Builders Association of Northern Nevada did a superb job in proving that our current Regional Plan already accomplishes what AB 119 is “supposed” to do. Click HERE for some facts about water and growth.
One point needs to be made very clear: No one can develop a piece of dirt until that developer has the water rights in hand to serve that project. We can never over-develop. If we were to somehow run out of newly available water, nothing else could be built.
In fact, we have become more efficient at using our resources at the same time that we build more homes and businesses. Brand-new homes and office buildings use much less water than older developments.
I testified against the bill and then was interviewed by KUNR after the hearing. My basic point was that we have had responsible, managed growth in Washoe County for years. Our economy must have a certain amount of growth to survive and thrive. Our members depend upon the income paid to the construction workers who shop in our stores and consume our services.
AB 119 does nothing to help our current economic conditions. In fact, it could very well make it worse.